If reports are to be believed, Seth Grahame-Smith’s departure from Warner Brothers’ The Flash is not the only bit of creative upheaval going on at the studio.
According to a report from Birth.Movies.Death, Warner Brother executives are “at odds” with director Zack Snyder over the tone of the upcoming Justice League films as well as the over slate of upcoming DC Comic films as established by the director in Man Of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. Additionally, James Wan, director of the scheduled Aquaman film, “is feeling a tremendous amount of trepidation” over the project.
The source of the concern on the part of studio executives with Snyder’s work is the poor critical reception that Batman V Superman received. Faraci does report that Snyder and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns were also “taken aback at critical and audience reaction” to the film. With production on Justice League beginning just days after Batman V Superman hit theaters, the studio executives found themselves in a situation where they couldn’t outright remove Snyder from the film without potentially damaging the box office to Batman V Superman. But that has instead led to “Lots of fights between Snyder and the WB execs, and lots of pressure from Burbank on Snyder, who is shooting in London.”
If true, their reaction is not unexpected, as long before it’s release it had been reported from numerous sources that even if Batman V Superman managed to clear the $800 million at the box office needed to break even, if it would clear a cool $1 billion it would be regarded as a disappointment
As of this writing, the film’s global take is just shy of $863 million and it doesn’t look like it has enough legs left to pull in another $137 million in ticket sales.
Meanwhile, Aquaman director James Wan is reportedly feeling “a tremendous amount of trepidation about Aquaman.” It is not being said exactly the source of that unease is. Faraci points out that Wan’s upcoming film The Conjuring 2 and Lights Out which he is producing should both do well for the studio this summer at a cost far less than the budget for Aquaman, giving the director a bit of an advantage when it comes to dealing with the studio. Perhaps more than Snyder has right now.
Not it should be noted that Faraci is reporting from sources within the studio who naturally can’t go on the record here. In instances such as this we normally recommend a grain or two of salt for a pair of reasons – 1) Either the source or the reporter may have an ulterior motive in wanting to have this news spread or 2) The situation is fluid and could change at any moment.
For me, Faraci’s reporting is usually spot on, even if it may fall prey to the second caveat. There are a few online film reporters who I generally trust with this kind of reporting and Faraci is indeed one of them. It’s not like he’s reporting on Marvel Studios’ plans to adapt the Planet Hulk comic book storyline or anything.
But if this reporting of concerns over the creative tone and direction are currently ongoing at the studio, that may be a good thing. Some times the tension between artist and commerce – and let’s not forget that this a business ultimately – can create a much better product. Of course, the results can also be catastrophic. We’ll keep monitoring the situation.